The First Freedom Center, a non-profit, non-political, non-denominational organization based in Richmond, Virginia, and dedicated to advancing the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, is announcing its 20th annual First Freedom Student Competition. This national essay and video contest offers students in grades 9 through 12 with an opportunity to compete for $2,500 awards as they examine the First Amendment and the history and implementation of freedom of religion and conscience in American democracy and the world today. Students then present their evaluation in written essay or video format.
This year’s topic introduces students to George Washington’s famous Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island of 1790, where he addresses a new standard for religious freedom and religious equality for citizens of the young nation. Students will identify the basic principles of religious liberty espoused in this primary document and will research and assess how well the United States has lived up to Washington’s ideal. For the complete topic, essay and video guidelines, registration, classroom poster, student flyer and other details, visit First Freedom Student Competition 2012/2013.
Students must register online on or before Monday, November 12, 2012, and the postmark deadline for mailing the essay or video with its accompanying entry materials is Monday, November 26, 2012. Winners will be announced on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, 2013.